i love pinterest but……………….

This post is not a tirade of hatred for Pinterest, which I love, it’s just a few thoughts I had the other day, and read til the end ‘cos there’s a picture at the end that the fabulous Kathie posted on Facebook yesterday that had me laughing and weeping tears of the purest joy.

If you follow me on Pinterest it will be no surprise to you that I love it. I have boards of Fantasy Wardrobe, Clothes I want to make, Beautiful kids room ideas and many, and I do mean many, more!! But much like looking through an amazing interiors magazine sometimes it’s inspiring but sometimes it makes you envious or just plain grumpy because your home/wardrobe/abilities come very short of the perfection exhibited inside, Pinterest is just like this. Mostly I adore sinking into the fab photographs and I pin projects I have every intention of trying out, and I have indeed tried lots, Exhibit A, Exhibit B etc . But there are almost certainly more that I never attempt and probably know deep down I never will and ironically I would do more if I didn’t  spend so much time on Pinterest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful nursery from blog When Life Gives You Mellins via Boo and the boy.

HOMES – If you follow me on Pinterest you would notice I don’t ever pin pics of my home. I do love peoples pics of the beautiful spaces they live in but although I may adore others clean spaces I actually live in a rather chaotic house and I think I missed getting a cleaning gene or two and I certainly don’t notice dust, piles of papers on edges of rooms or random solitary socks peeking out from the sofa and if I’m really honest I’m rather suspicious (probably envious) of people who have exquisite homes! How do they do it? When do they find time to do it? And most importantly why don’t they just sit down with a cuppa and eat a biscuit instead?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric Carle in his gloriously messy studio

STUDIO – As someone who makes things things for a living I am lucky enough to have a studio/workshop in which I create things. I adore my studio and have been in my current one for over 10 years but it is a working environment and it is certainly not a photogenic place and has paperwork, half made items, packaging, tools and the materials of my trade scattered in a seemingly random, but actually ordered way. The beautiful studios of people with their lined up shelves of stuff and acres of uncluttered worktop  remind me of something I was told at art school, creativity is messy. I am genuinely confused by an ordered studio and suspect the occupant of not really making things in it, perhaps they have a Dorian Grey like second real studio where the action actually happens!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jane Foster’s organised and well used studio.

Having said that I am lucky enough to know Jane Foster who keeps a beautiful studio that is photo ready at most times and as I know how hard she works everyday and how prolific she is perhaps more people than I like to think are like her and not like untidy me at all. I also have a small sewing room at home that I share with the kids as an art room and it looks like this (see below). See what I mean about not being photo ready! I would actually rather not share it but hey what’s a little house shame between friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know it’s awful isn’t it, I had to Instagram the photo before sharing in an attempt to be less embaressed to share! I push piles to one side to make clothes and presents and the kids mainly work on the kitchen table and as much as I’d like a sewing room that is photo ready I suspect it may never happen!

I follow hundreds of people on Pinterest and am thankful they find such beautiful, inspiring and interesting projects and some of them I actually hang out with in real life and some I’d love to be my friends and I reckon we’d get on great like Rainbow Vintage Home, Lisa Levis, Abby Hagler, Lola Nova and Dasiy Jones to name a very small selection!

I love Pinterest but i think we must all remember, particually when we have a low day or perhaps month, that what people pin is not what they are and most of us who have beautiful images and fabulous projects online actually have untidy homes, grubby kids in spiderman t-shirts from the car boot rather than hand made designer mini clothes and that’s exactly the way it should be. Some come follow me on Pinterest but don’t be fooled by the pins I choose, I’m probably knee deep in dust at home and throwing a ready made pizza in the oven ‘cos I’m too knackered after teaching to rustle up a photogenic vegetarian feast for the boys at home.

Now finally for the funny bit I promised at the start.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If the cake picture above made you laugh then I reckon we’d get on fine if we ever meet, if like me it made tears of laughter roll down your cheeks then come on over next time you’re in Brighton and we can have a cuppa and some cake and maybe go charity shopping together! Thank you Kathie B for the link to ‘Not everything on Pinterest is as easy as it looks‘.

Bluebird xx

PS this post came to me after a particular week when I felt weighed down by work, kids and the winter blues so no criticism please! But I have a spring in my step now and think I may even be ready to take on Christmas – long may this last!!

Merry Christmas From the Boutique!

December has now arrived which means Christmas is on its way, yippee! Here at the Boutique we want to send out some festive vibes by offering you 10% off your orders for the whole of December on our online shop.

We have lots of Christmas bunting in some amazing Scandinavian fabric which is the perfect ingredient to set the festive scene. Christmas stockings and gorgeous paper garlands that would make any room look magical. We also have some great gifts for Downton Abbey fans, Kids who have everything and for those vintage addicts out there our doily bunting is a must have.

Just enter code BBDEC13  at the checkout to get a fab 10% off your order. The offer runs for the whole of December.

Merry Christmas BB X

 

sewing new from old

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earlier in the year I bought 3 gingham dresses at the car boot for £1 each, 2 blue and 1 red. Although they look a lot like school dresses they were a large size and made of a nice heavy gingham fabric which I thought was well worth a pound even just for cutting up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really didn’t want to leave them as dresses but i really wanted something I could wear so after checking how much fabric they had I got to thinking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dress was a bodice and seperate skirt so it was really easy to adapt. Using a quick-unpick I detatched the skirt from the top and then carefully ran 2 bands of large running stitch by hand around the top of the skirt. This allowed me to gather the skirt further as as it stood the skirt was too wide. Once done I gathered skirt to correct circumference and pinned in place. One side seam on the skirt needed to be unpicked for a few inches for the zip to be inserted.

I then went back to the bodice I had discarded and cut 2 bands approx 3 inches wide and sewed them together to make a long strip for the waistband. I backed with interfacing and folded edges towards the middle and folded strip in half with right side of fabric on outside. The gathered skirt slipped between the folded waistband and I sewed in place on the machine close to where the band met the skirt, you can see in pic below where the 2 pieces are sewn together. Just add a hook and eye and bingo a new skirt!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lovely new skirt with patch pockets and hopefully it doesn’t look too school girly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So get sewing with all those fab items from the carboot or charity shop that don’t fit as they are but you love the fabric. Check out the other posts in this series, here, here and here.

Happy sewing!

Bluebird xx

Sewing but ill!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illness (and a slight creative block) has hit the Bluebird house so no posting this week about sewing for your wardrobe but I will be back next week with some upcycling and skirts. Check out previous posts 1, 2 and 3 and come back next week for the next few parts where I will look at adjusting pieces to fit and adding detail to make a plain piece rather special – inspired by some Pinterest pins! To see more of my sewing inspiration check out here too.

Bluebird xx

Downton Abbey

We were absolutely made up to be asked to make some bespoke bunting for series four of Downton Abbey back in June this year and finally last Sunday (in the series finale no less!) it made its appearance!

If you’re just a fraction as excited as us about that, you might like to know that the same bunting is now available to buy on our shop:

 http://www.buntingboutique.co.uk/shop.php

The bunting is a classic piece and has already had lots of interest with some Spring/Summer Brides-to-be. As you can see from the photos it works really well in a garden party situation and I’m sure will make lovely wedding bunting.

Or, if you’re wondering what to buy a Downton fan that has everything for Christmas, you know where to go:)

 

BB x

 

sewing with woolens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For part 3. of the ‘Expand your wardrobe’ series I am going to make a lovely little cardigan from a shrunken and felted jumper. Now I am not known for my care of delicates when washing and therefore I occassionally shrink my woolens! Once they are too small to wear comfortably then don’t bin them or charity shop them – make into a cardi!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First to choose what to edge the cardi with – bias binding or fabric from the stash?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love old fabric best and as we are edging a straight seam we can use a regular rectangle of fabric without cutting on the bias. But which fabric to choose?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next you need to cut your jumper open. Measure and mark the centre front line (1.) and then cut with sharp scissors (2.) As the jumper has shrunk due to felting, then the item will not unravel at the cut seam so no need to overlock (3.) Pin your chosen fabric in place to make sure you like your previous selected piece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As my chosen fabric was barkcloth I decided to face it with an iron-on facing to minimise the chance of frayed edges (1.) As you can see my piece of fabric is small and although a little longer than the cardi edge not very wide, so I decided to widen my pieces with a nice complimentary bias binding (2.) With right sides facing I opened binding and sewed along both edges of both pieces (3.) You can see my patched binding here (4.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once my chosen binding is assembled I pin right sides together to the front of the cardigan and sew along with a 1 – 1.5cm allowance (1.) Once this seam is sewn you turn binding to wrong side of bound edge and pin in place, checking that it all looks good from the front (2.) Turn over and sew from the front 2mm from the inner edge of binding.(3.) Edges can be tucked under and sewn when undertaking step 3 (4.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have cut your chosen binding to the length of the cut jumper then you will need to finish the ends (1.) A piece of felt is ideal as it can be cut and sewn in place without turning or hemming (2.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All done! Now you have a lovely new top with beautiful fabric binding. Just remember not to shrink all your jumpers just because this makes such a good top!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is not the first jumper that is now a cardigan in my wardrobe, check out this wonderful acid green version with a beautiful Moda fabric edge!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All ready for putting away or wearing right away of course!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out part 1. and part 2. of the ‘Expand your wardrobe for pennies’ series to catch up on other ideas.

Bluebird xx

Part 4. coming next week

A little dying

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a beautiful silk dress I had as maid of honour at my friends wedding. It is beautiful and fits perfectly but it is a colour I avoid like the plague! I really don’t like pink but as an expensive dress I certainly couldn’t bring myself to charity shop it or cut it up so I decided that the colour had to change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had thought that making it look browned with age might do it so I dyed with tea but it was too subtle. Next I dyed with coffee overnight and hung in the garden to dry but alas still too light. The colour was glorious when wet but once dry it was just still too pink! So it had to be serious dye. Now this not only means buying some dye, I used Dylon in brown, but also remembering the salt, I did not remember to buy the salt until after the boys were asleep so no dying that evening either. It also involved waiting until Mr Bluebird was away for 2 days as he has a strict ‘No dye in the washer’ rule, but hey what he doesn’t know……… etc, etc! The brown dye worked perfectly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ta Da! A dress I can wear now, it looks very cerise in this photo but it is much browner in the flesh as it were. Now I know the stitching has stayed a pinky shade but I can live with this, in the past I have even coloured over undyed stitching with felt pens (horror) but as the dress is silk I decided not to.

So take a look around your wardrobe and see if there are clothes that just need a new lease of colour, either to change to a more suitable shade or perhaps to hide any worn spots. And for those of you worried about dye in your washer then I can say since filling mine with brown dye I haven’t seen a single spot of colour on anything else that’s been through the machine!

Bluebird xx

PS Part 3. of the Expand your wardrobe series will be on Tuesday or Wed next week.

sewing beautiful tops in a few hours!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like many, many of you out there I have a small (!) Pinterest addiction and was posting beautiful clothes to my Fantasy Wardrobe board with no chance of adding them to my real wardrobe as everything i pinned was way out of my budget. So I started pinning to a board of sewing ideas for the wardrobe and one pin that intruiged me was a lovely top that needed no pattern via The Village Haberdashery. It was written by Portia from blog Miss P, a lovely blog of sewing projects, tricks and tips.

The project is extremely easy to follow, taking a few measurements first and then following the steps. I made the first yellow floral top for less than £1 using a duvet cover I bought for £1 at a car boot (also used for this picnic blanket here), I used about 22″ x 45″ of fabric.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I added top stitching around the neckline (3) and hem and stitched the faced collar at the shoulders for neatness. I also put a little pocket in (1) and chose to go for a button opening at the back (3).

I loved this simple top and have loads of ideas for variations. I have made a 2 so far with the second being longer with a slightly adapted neckline (less wide and half an inch lower at front). Mainly I fancied making one with a little pleat (pin tuck?) at the front (1). I decided I’d cut a little wider to accommodate the pleat but probably needn’t have worried but I love how it came out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For lots of sewing ideas then follow my Pinterest board. Keep up to date with all of Portia’s projects and tips and keep watching The Daily Stitch, the blog from The Village Haberdashery.

If you do Instagram then follow me for lots of sewing, fabric and Airstream pics at Bluebirdjewellery.

Happy sewing

Bluebird xx

Part 2. will be here over the weekend!

Sewing and wearing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep watching for my budget busting posts on expanding and updating your wardrobe. This summer and autumn I’ve been busy sewing, altering and adapting so follow along and get more outfits for less than a yummy lunch in your favourite cafe!

Part one later today is an easy to follow no-pattern top. More posts include adapting clothes you have with dyes, adding trims and re imagining clothes that aren’t quite you!

Bluebird xx

sewing and saving!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have lots of lovely birthdays this month from my favourite family of people and I thought I’d share a little present making with you. Not only is handmade thoughtful it can also be an affordable way to give gifts. Last Christmas my boys received lovely personalised pencils and I remembered the excitement of seeing my name on sets of pencils as a youngster and although I had forgotten about them, as soon as I saw my boys names emblazoned in gold on their own sets I knew I had to buy some for some of my friends kiddies.

The pencils can be ordered from Studio, this is a UK based company but an internet search will find you similar where you are based. Next I just needed a lovely case to put them in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found a brilliant pattern in Simple Sewing with Lola Nova by Alexandra Smith, remember the workshop I did with her in London last year (read about it here). I have made very simple cases before, but generally I make up a pattern and just wing it but today I thought I’d do it properly and follow a pattern, and it was well worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It came out really well, if a tiny bit wonky, and looks so much more lovely than my old basic pouch sewing. It has beautiful box corners and little ribbon loops for helping little fingers unzip or to hang up. I will be making lots more of these for all the sets of pencils I ordered.

Studio 24 also offers a ‘refer a friend’ and if you tell a friend about Studio 24, once they order and you contact studio 24 and tell them your friends customer number and you’ll get some vouchers to spend! Brilliant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So get sewing now and if you are looking for a lovely sewing book for yourself or for a friend then Simple Sewing if Fab!

Bluebird xx

Fabric finds from the summertime

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well hello again, I have had a huge break from blogging over the summer and after settling into new routine (both boys are now at school-some of you may approach this milestone with a tear in your eye but personally I skipped away from school and cycled to my workshop with a smile on my face). So although I have been out and about over the summer and been sewing and making I have shared none of this. So I thought I could post a few pics from the summer.

Here by the seaside we have a summer festival in one of the huge regency squares with music, food, and lots, and I mean lots, of stalls selling brilliant vintage clothes and household stuff and I unearthed some fabulous fabric. Check out this stash which cost £6. Some pieces are big enough for clothes making and some are perfect for around the house. My fav pieces are the kitchen curtain with the stylised coffee pots and plates and the grey barkcloth with flowers and vases. I was a happy bunny when I found this lot and have plans for some pieces and others will go in my modest fabric stash. If you follow me on Instagram (Bluebirdjewellery) then you will have seen these finds along with many more over the summer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I just need to get some sewing underway!

To see more find from the car boot and what I’m up to then come follow me on Instagram – Bluebirdjewellery

Bluebird xx

Camping days

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I took the little ones on camp last week, but not a little, family, cosy expedition but a rather different type of week altogether. We went on Woodcraft Folk camp as I am a leader with the Venturer group, these are the teenagers aged 12-16. So we trundled up to Derbyshire and camped with approx. 620 teenagers for 8 days! Late nights and lots of fun was had by all and as ever I am astounded at how brilliant young people are. They are funny, thoughtful, irreverent and kind and are not given enough credit by society. I love the info point made of cardboard someone made, see pic above.

They had a central area with workshops, activities, cafes and a solar cinema and ‘the underground printing press’ where a wonderful printmaker had brought a yurt and filled it with printing equipment for typesetting, lino and riso printing and the youngsters could make posters, badges, cards and postcards and they even had postal service so you could send letters to other people on camp.  Check out a few of the posters made by the young people below. (I didn’t get a picture of the poster saying ‘vaginas can change the world’ that a few on my venturers made after going to the gender equality workshop but it is brilliant).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There we workshops on issues such as ‘what class means in the uk’, ‘helping run woodcraft groups if you’re a teenager’, ‘gender equality’ and lots more as well as a craft tent and a solar cinema showing films ranging from Monsters Inc – a hit with my boys –  to Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes.

There was also a bushcraft area where the kids made toasting forks, spreaders, spoons and my boys made some Harry Potter style wands. One of the people in the bushcraft area said she regularly taught ones as little as 2 to use a whittling knife safely and No. 2 son got to whittle, on his own! Heaven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So much more than I am writing happened on camp and the best bit was watching the teenagers have loads of fun. I am now going to lie down as 8 days with all that lot has left me rather tired!

If you are in the UK and have kids between 6 and 16 then enrol them in Woodcraft Folk as it is a great, great organisation that values peace, equality, sustainability and empowered young people.

Bluebird xx

The Horse Guards Inn

If you love discovering lovely new spots to enjoy a drink and eat yummy food in the most idyllic surroundings then you must pay a visit to the Horse Guards Inn in the lovely village of Tillington near Petworth.

We were on holiday in that area not so long ago and were recommended by Laura (fellow D & O peep) as a must go to spot. We knew the pub would be great on her recommendation but we were overwhelmed by how amazing it was. When we walked in there was an instant warm, friendly and cosy feel, the staff were very welcoming and after ordering our food we decided to take a pew in the garden.  To be honest to say I was totally blown away by this magical space was an understatement, it was just adorable. Deciding on where to sit was quite a decision, should we slump down in the old school deck chairs, perch on a straw bale, have a lounge in the hammock but as we were eating we went for one of the wooden benches covered in sheepskins.

There was so much to see in the garden that it defiantly kept my daughter happy while we waited for our food. Not only did it have lots of lovely bunting hanging in the trees but the place was full of herbs, vegetables and quirky little gems dotted all over the place.

There was also the cutest vintage shop tucked away at the back, obviously could not resist a peek in there.

There was a fab vintage cabinet in the garden where you got all your cutlery and condiments – such a lovely idea and, when the food arrived not only did it look amazing it tasted amazing too.  Everything about the day was just perfect and we will defiantly be visiting again.

BBx

 

sewing for summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we finally have some sunny weather here its time to head to the seaside or the paddling pool and spread the picnic blanket and eat alfresco. But maybe your picnic rug has seen better days or perhaps like me it was just too ugly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My blanket was free via my mum and is lovely and light but made of horrid synthetic fleece. Rather than splash out on a lovely new one I thought I’d cover one side with pretty fabric. I had a dark blue floral from last weeks sunday car boot for 50p and some pieces of a yellow duvet cover (£1 from another car boot) as the blue fabric wasn’t quite big enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided I’d have mainly blue floral with edging in yellow and sewed the pieces together so they formed a single piecethat was a few inches larger than the fleece blanket. Once ironed I just layed fabric right side together with the fleece and sewed nearly all the way round with basic stitch. Once I snipped the corners and turned right side out I top stitched all around. Voila, new picnic blanket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I know no. 2 son looks a bit pink in pic above but he really is smothered in factor 50 and sunburn free.)

Happiness is definitely making things!!!

Bluebird xx

Betty’s Macaroons

What better way to treat yourself this summer than tucking into some of Betty’s delicious macaroons, with 3 new flavour additions of delicate rose and wild strawberry, tangy gooseberry and fragrant orange blossom who could resist. We were very happy to get asked to make them some summer paper bunting for their promo shoot – only wish I had been their to tuck into some of those tasty goodies.

BB x

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